The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), transportation secretariat has approved a new date of October 1 for the commencement of enforcement of the policy on mini-bus feeder route operations.
This was contained in a statement by the Public Relations Officer of the secretariat, Mrs. Stella Ojeme, which was made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday.
Recall that the administration had earlier disclosed that mini-bus operations would be limited to specific feeder routes and said the new policy would take effect from August.
Efforts by the administration to sensitise members of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) Wuse Unit, Zone 5 about a fortnight ago were met with stiff resistance as the drivers accused the FCT administration of pushing them out of business systematically as all lucrative routes had been taken away from them.
The statement noted that the secretary of transportation, Engr. Jonathan Ivoke who disclosed the extension in a meeting with licensed operators in his office said the extension became necessary following appeals from the operators especially the mini- bus operators under the aegis of the NURTW that they needed more time to sensitise their drivers on the new policy.
The Secretary, according to the statement, expressed displeasure at the behaviour of members of NURTW at the Mombassa Motor Park, saying though the administration of Senator Bala Mohammed was a listening one, any licensed operator that attacks an official of the FCTA who is assigned the responsibilities to sensitise the drivers and the public would have their parks closed down.
He advised members of the mini-bus union to come together to migrate to high capacity buses for their operations as the FCT intends to reduce drastically the number of mini buses operating within the city, adding that the FCTA would facilitate their access to soft loans from the Urban Development Bank (UDB ) and private financiers.
Ivoke, the statement added, also reminded them that the biometric data capturing of every driver operating in the FCT was on course noting that it was imperative that every bus and taxi driver is captured for the safety and security of both the drivers and the public.
He enjoined the operators to be law abiding adding that the FCTA is not out to pursue anybody earning their legitimate livelihood from FCT but that the secretariat was just out to sanitise the transportation sector according to its mandate.
He further stated that when the bus mass transit is fully implemented, the congestion in the city would be drastically reduced.
The statement added that the Secretary NURTW FCT Chapter, Alhaji Umar Abubakar commended the administration for its response to the plight of the drivers and pledged the members continuous support for the policy of the administration.